- Wed, December 13 2006
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I remember being involved in some audience research a few years back about “caregivers”—people who take care of an elderly parent, for example, or a chronically ill spouse. The main finding of the research was that “caregivers” did not self-identify as “caregivers.” So a marketing campaign to promote useful resources for “caregivers” was not working. It had no audience, because the audience did not see itself as bearing the label bestowed upon it.
When nonprofits approach their audiences and label them “activists” or “advocates,” it creates distance between the organization and the people they are trying to influence. While we might want our audiences to identify themselves as activists, more likely they identify themselves emotionally as concerned parents, responsible homeowners, or pet lovers. Having an actual conversation with them and taking into consideration what they care about and how they identify themselves is far more likely to be effective at persuading them to act.
Well said, Spitfire. The report then digs into how to get people to act, if labels that imply action don’t work. Some key findings:
An activation point occurs when the right people at the right time are persuaded to take an action that leads to measurable social change.
When people have a high level of awareness of an issue, they are not motivated by more information. In fact, it can contribute to their state of inertia.
Hope is the only absolutely, positively essential ingredient to campaigns trying to inspire action. You must make people believe that the situation will get better – with their help.
There are several stages to successful persuasion:
Stage One: People need to know, believe and care enough to want to act.
Stage Two: People must have the will to act.
Stage Three: Once people act, they must be rewarded for doing so.
Timing is everything. Deciding when it is the right time to persuade people is a critical factor to defining an activation point – and can be very tricky.
Understanding an audience’s comfort zone is key. There are clear limits to what even the most passionate people are willing to do, especially if the “ask” is outside their comfort zone. On the other hand, asking people to do things within their comfort zone allows them to feel good about helping without putting themselves at risk.
People are selfish. They need to feel an issue is directly relevant to their own lives before they will act.